Why we all need interdependent relationships

Gabbi De Boer writes on the problematic nature of co dependent relationships and why we should strive for inter-dependence.

Gabbi De Boer
13th December 2020

When you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s only natural for your lives to be intertwined with one another. However, there can be a fine line between this and co-dependency.

When people in relationships become co-dependent, often they begin to find it is incredibly isolating. Lack of communication, becoming obsessive and becoming needy generally turn into something overwhelming. The ‘giver’ in the relationship becomes immersed in the idea of ‘fixing’ their partner with the ‘taker’ contributing almost nothing. This ends up being very one-sided and causes one person’s self-esteem to plummet.

By putting all your energy into something or someone whilst receiving next to nothing, you become trapped in a cycle, often pushing others away. This, obviously, is a disaster for mental health.

In a relationship, your lives will be influenced by one another therefore it is almost impossible to be truly independent in a relationship – which is why interdependence is so important.

The first step in achieving this is developing good communication with your partner. It’s an obvious one but set clear boundaries and make sure you have their respect and in turn you respect them. This mutual agreement is a great starting point for every other conversation in your relationship as it will make it far easier to make sure everyone’s needs are met.

"Don’t get hung up on what you think is the ‘perfect’ relationship online."

With the growing presence of social media in our lives, it can also be easy to compare your relationship with others, and as many people say, “comparison is the thief of joy”. Don’t get hung up on what you think is the ‘perfect’ relationship online. In reality it could be far messier than you think, and in your pursuit to get to this ‘perfection’, you start to ignore your partner’s desires. It could mean getting hung up on lots of little details which frankly just won’t work in your relationship. This creates an obsession and anxiety that could cause you more problems in the long run, as not every relationship is perfect and by no means are they one-size-fits-all.

Another difficult aspect in a co-dependent relationship is the heightened emotional state many people find themselves in. A combination of stress, anxiety and fear may result in feelings of hopelessness, as though you are forever doomed to feel lonely and out of control. Co-dependents want to fix things, when really it may be something they are better off without.

"Make sure to take time to yourself and truly take care of your mental health, as well as remembering what things you enjoy in your relationship and what makes you both happy."

The beauty of an interdependent relationship is the ability to truly feel yourself. Through mutual respect, your needs are met, as well as both parties achieving happiness. Of course, disagreements are normal, but unlike co-dependent relationships, good communication will overcome these far easier. Make sure to take time to yourself and truly take care of your mental health, as well as remembering what things you enjoy in your relationship and what makes you both happy. This will lead to something a little more harmonious.

Relationships are always a big commitment but committing yourself to interdependence may make your life a little easier.

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